Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy
DID JOE WILSON MAKE UP STORY ABOUT PRACTICING IMMIGRATION LAW?
Yesterday Congressman Joe Wilson talked to reporters about his claim that the President was lying about immigrants having access to health care subsidies under the President's health care plan. According to the NY Times:
"I'm for immigration," [Wilson] said, adding that he had been an immigration
lawyer, although he did not specify exactly what he had done. "But
people who come toour country and violated our laws, we should not be providing full services."
It struck me immediately that this would be bizarre if true. Going from representing immigrants to being a member of the virulently anti-immigrant Immigration Reform Caucus and getting an A- rating from anti-immigrant group Numbers USA as well as support from the anti-immigrant fundraising group ALIPAC would show a dramatic tranformation in one's views.
I've been practicing immigration law in the South for nearly 20 years and know a lot of my fellow immigration lawyers in this region. I didn't recognize the name Joe Wilson from West Columbia, South Carolina. So I decided to call some of my friends in the Carolina immigration bar - including some from Columbia - and no one is aware of Congressman Wilson ever handling immigration matters.
South Carolina's immigration bar is not large. And immigration in the state has only been substantial in recent years. Wilson left private practice in 2001 so the odds of him having an immigration practice that escaped the notice of the state's handful of other immigration lawyers is extremely remote.
Did Congressman Wilson - who is making national headlines for calling the President a liar - lie to the national media about his being an immigration lawyer? If so, why? Was it somehow to make it seem like his incorrect reading of the health care bill's immigration provision was accurate?
Congressman Wilson can clear this up by producing evidence of having filed immigration cases and actually having knowledge of immigration law. Former immigration clients of Joe Wilson - speak up and show the world your former lawyer is not the liar he accuses the President of being!